136 Chapter 10
THE FALL IS REAL
IT IS NOT
and Eve had actual historical existence in 'flesh,' and made an actual
historical choice that was covenantally free, such that it had earth-
If you prefer "Adam and Eve" to be mythical, but you still want to
assert the truth of the Fall and you do not want all of human freedom to
end up in Mr. Minsky's middle box, then you still must assert that at
least one actual couple completely imprisoned in 'flesh' -- let's call
them Fred and Ethel Mertz -- had the ability to make a covenantally
free choice of earth-shattering significance, not a 'pretend' free choice
that was, when it comes down to it, really the product of Cause and
Chance. It's like Demosthenes looking for an honest man -- find me at
Since this renaming to Fred and Ethel obviously solves nothing, we
may as well call this couple by their real names, Adam and Eve.
The historical status of Adam and Eve, and the historical status of
the Fall, then, is of critical importance to the Catholic faith. It is not the
same kind of thing -- at all -- as the question of whether, for example,
"All the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years."
nothing critical to the Eucharistic Event is disturbed if Noah really
lived only nine hundred and forty-nine years, but the Fall can not be
real if Adam and Eve did not have actual historical existence. If they
were only 'examples' of some time-less truth, the Fall itself also
becomes only an 'example' of a time-less truth.
1. Genesis 9:29 RSV
The Fall becomes something that actual human beings were not
responsible for. How could we be? We weren't there.
So, the denial of the historicity of Adam and Eve is also a denial of
the historicity of the Fall itself. At one stroke, it removes the Fall from
any genuine connection with 'flesh,' and places it in the realm of the
time-less. In the process, it leaves no ground for genuine human
freedom, for real responsibility, since it removes all "earth-shattering"
choices to the realm of the time-less, where 'flesh' can never go -- if
only because the entire realm of the time-less is, exactly, Mr. Minsky's
Thus only in passing does all this serve to illustrate the surpassing
inanity of the current 'grown-up' Catholic thought, New Class
Catholicism, busily going about its self-anointed project of stuffing
itself into Mr. Minsky's middle box. What it really illustrates, as Fr.
Keefe points out, is that the real task of Catholic theology regarding
the Fall is not explaining the Fall, but explaining why the Fall was
For 'flesh' looks at itself and says, There is no way I can 'Fall.' I'm
"vanity" through and through. I can't 'Fall' -- because I'm already as
low as I can go. Or, if you prefer the "don't worry, be happy" school of
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.